Best Two Way Radios Buying Guide

Now that you have an idea of how a two way radio works, and you also know the various factors you need to look into when buying one, here are our reviews of some of the best two way radios in the market today. In coming up with the reviews, we considered all the factors mentioned above, as well as our experience in using the units so that we can give you a true representation of what the units are and the kind of experience you can expect from using. Read on to find out more.

Best Two Way Radio Reviews of 2019

1. Motorola MS350R

motorola ms350r two way radio

Motorola is a huge name in the telecoms industry and it is one of the top manufacturers of phones and now, two way radios. The Motorola MS350R is one of the best two way radios you will find in the market today. It promises a solid performance in most of the applications, and it is also lightweight so that you won’t have to be bothered by extra weight. One of the remarkable features you will love about this model is its range, which is a whopping 35-mile radius. If you are interested in a versatile outdoor two-way radio, then you will find a lot of pleasure in owning and using this set by Motorola.

PROS:

  • It is lightweight and durable
  • It is waterproof
  • Comes in an attractive design
  • Has removable batteries

CONS:

  • Though it has a 35-mile range, this will vary from place to place.

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2. Midland GXT1000VP4

Midland GXT1000VP4 two way radio

The Midland GXT1000VP4 is another dependable two way radio you can consider, especially if you need a versatile unit for your outdoor adventures. It is a heavy-duty performance two-way radio, designed and built with features to enable it to work in the toughest of the conditions. With a long range of 36-mile radius, this radio is going to suffice the needs of the majority.

The device uses both FMS and GMRS with the ability to use 22 channels and 28 channels respectively. It also comes with 142 privacy codes, thus giving you incredible control during those moments when you don’t want to have interference when chatting with other users. You will also be pleased to know that the radio is capable of giving live weather updates from NOAA channel. On the battery life, when fully charged, you can use the battery for slightly over ten hours.

PROS:

  • Affordable, sturdy two way radio
  • Has a range of up to 36 miles in open spaces
  • It is waterproof, thus ideal for outdoor applications
  • Comes with over 20 GMRS channels

CONS:

  • Do not have direct messaging options or group modes.

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3. Cobra ACXT545

COBRA ACXT545 two way radio

Cobra Electronics is another household communication brand whose two way radios you can trust. The company will be remembered as the very first creator of the world’s CB radio over five decades ago. This is just a subtle reminder about their experience in the industry, as well as the quality of their products. The Cora ACXT545 has been built to last and guarantees very stable performance under varying conditions.

With a range of 30 miles in open spaces and 10 miles in closed places like towns, the device is ideal for most normal applications, and you will also not be disappointed should you venture outdoors with it. It has a total of 22 channels, and when these are combined with the 124 privacy codes it comes with, users can get up to 2662 channel combination, thus allowing for incredible control over communication. The other notable features and functionalities include integration with the NOAA radio receiver for live weather updates, and LED flashlight for use in dark conditions and rubberized grips for a good hold.

PROS:

  • Affordable two way radio with great performance
  • Has a range of up to 30 miles in open spaces
  • Can give a channel combination of up to 2662 channels
  • Fitted with a vibrating alert as well as a voice-activated transmission features

CONS:

  • The range is not consistent and may vary
  • It is not waterproof, hence, not ideal for use in outdoor conditions

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4. Midland LXT600VP3

MIDLAND LXT600VP3 two way radio

Here is another two way radio by Midland that makes it to our list of the best two way radios, and this can only be because it is of good quality. The Midland LXT600VP3 boasts of a range of 30 miles in open places, but this reduces to about ten miles in places with lots of obstruction such as in towns and cities.

It is water resistant, and this means that it will survive the rain and splashes, but you should never dunk it under water since it may never survive when in a lot of water. With a total of 22 channels, and 142 privacy codes, you get incredible channel combination and its integration with the NOAA channels guarantees that you will also have live weather updates right from the radio. When fully charged, the battery can last for up to 12 hours of uninterrupted use.

PROS:

  • Water resistant
  • Affordable
  • Comes with a total of 22 GMRS channels
  • Has a range of 30 miles in open spaces

CONS:

  • The range varies depending on available obstructions
  • Not 100% waterproof

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Final thoughts

Whether you have real or imagined use for them, two way radios are fancy communication gadgets that can come handy in a number of situations, especially in places where there are no cell phone signals and you need to communicate urgently. Though their range is limited, they are ideal for communication between teams in camping sites, hiking trails, factories, warehouses, and many other similar environments. But it is imperative for you to understand how they work and how to choose a set that will suit all your needs. Hopefully, this guide gives you vital insights into what it takes to end up with the best two way radios, and you are also free to use any of the reviewed radios above.

Two way radios are fancy but essential communication gadgets worth having for a number of applications. You were probably fascinated by them when you were young, and you secretly wished if you could own them.

While growing up, you see law enforcement officers with them and you realize that you are still fascinated by them. Well, the truth is that two way radios are not a preserve of anyone, and if you wish, you could easily get a pair so that you also enjoy the fun that people derive when they use them.

In as much as you may opt to have two way radios just for fun with your family and friends when you are around the house, there are certain situations when you genuinely need to have a two way radio, or when the presence of a two way radio would be more convenient than even having a mobile phone. Think of campers or hikers exploring new ground and need to be in constant communications.

We all know that mobile signals may be unreliable in the remote areas, but this would not be a problem for a two way radio since they rely on radio frequency. Also think about factory operators, farmers, and other people who may need to stay in constant touch during the course of discharging their duties. This is just a subtle illustration of just how vital two way radios.

If you are interested in buying a two way radio, you will be surprised at the superfluity of brands and models in the market today. If this is going to be your first interaction with these gadgets, then you are likely to get confused, and without the right information, you may end up buying a brand or a model that may not suit your needs. Either, you won’t get one with the range you wanted, or you may purchase one whose frequency you are not allowed to have.

It is important to remember that radio frequencies are controlled by the government, and depending on the two way radio you want, you may have to apply for a license to be allowed to use certain frequencies.

This is why it is imperative to know how to buy the radios the right way so that you get the convenience you had desired and also avoid having unnecessary run-ins with the government. To help you out, here is a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about two way radios, including our cherry-picked recommendations for the best brands and models in the market today.

Two way radio basics

Before delving deep into the specific factors you should consider when buying these radio types as well as the specific brands and models worth considering, it is imperative that you first understand how these radios work so that when you consider your options, you will know exactly what you should be looking at.

Unlike what you have believed, the basic operations of a two way radio is very simple. The radios are designed to transmit and receive radio frequencies on very specific frequency channels. It means that if you are not within the designated channels, then your handsets will be useless.

Most two way radios work in nearly the same manner. They are powered by a rechargeable battery and this is normally located at the base of the unit. The volume button, which doubles up as the on/off button is normally found at the face of the unit and sometimes they may be two buttons. Then there is a transmission button used to operate the radio.

To communicate, the transmission button is pressed and the user speaks into the microphone unit for the message to be transmitted to any receiver in the area. When the transmission button is pressed, the receive button is inactive and upon realizing the transmission button, the receive button becomes active so that the user can listen to an incoming message.

Most of the two way radios to operate on multiple channels, though some are designated to operate on just a single frequency. When buying these radios, it is always a good idea to have multiple channels, especially if you intend to have a team with different points of communications using the radios.

With multiple channels, it will be very easy for you to assign different frequencies to different users so that you have more control over your communication and so that you communicate only with the persons you wanted to talk to. In this manner, you will reduce instances of eavesdropping or interferences in setups where there are several radios being used.

Factors to consider when choosing a two way radio

As noted earlier, there is a plethora of brands and models of two way radios in the market today. When you are out shopping for these radios, here is a brief look at some of the factors you should use as a guide to help find a two way radio that will be most suitable for your needs.

Maximum Range

The maximum range of the two way radio is one of the most important factors you should never overlook when making your selection of the radios. In most cases, the maximum range available for consumer two way radio units using the PMR446 frequency on 0.5W transmit power can be up to 10km radius.

However, this range may only be realized in ideal conditions: you are at very high altitudes with no obstacles between the transmitting and the receiving radios. Unless you are using the radios between mountain tops, this is a frequency range you are never going to get.

However, you still need to consider the range and pick on the ones with adequate range for the majority of the users. If you need something above the normal, then you may be compelled to go for a powerful two way radio, which will not just be very expensive but may also require a license to operate.

The number of handsets

A two-way radio set must not only be restricted to two handsets and you should be aware that you can purchase a radio with multiple handsets if you will have a need for such. If you need the radio for camping or hiking, then a twin set may work if you are in a small group.

However, if you are manning a warehouse and you want everyone connected at all times, then you are going to consider a radio with more than just two sets. When it comes to the number of handsets, there is no right or wrong number you should consider, but it will depend on why you need the radio and how many users you plan to use them.

The channels and privacy codes

Depending on the nature of the communications you will be having over the radios, you want to be very sure that your privacy will not be compromised in any way. If you are certain that you only need the radio for general uses, such as camping or hiking, then you may consider the license-free two-way radios that transmit on a fixed frequency. With most of these license-free two way radios, they have either 8 or 16 channels which are manually tuned to allow communication between the two users. Again, if you don’t want to use the license-free radios, be prepared to spend more on the more expensive ones.

In addition to the channels, you also need to consider the privacy codes of the radio. But you need to realize that the privacy codes are not designed so that your communication can’t be intercepted by anyone. The role of the codes is to make it easy for users to chat freely with our users without getting interference from other users. This is normally ideal in places such as ski resorts where you are likely to find many other two way radios being used.

The battery type

Some two way radios are fitted with the normal alkaline batteries while others come with rechargeable batteries, complete with a charging dock. Your choice of the radio should thus factor in the battery needs and the conditions under which you will be using the radio.

For example, if you need to use the radio for camping or hiking or in places where you may not have access to a power supply, then a radio with the regular batteries would be the most ideal. However, for plant or factory operations or if you intend to use the radio in environments where you can access power, then going for the rechargeable ones will be the most appropriate choice.

The weight of the radio

For most applications, you wouldn’t want to go for a heavy radio. If you are going for a hike or camping, you know how additional weight can cause you a lot of inconveniences. Therefore, check on the weight and be sure that it will not be a hindrance in your application. If, however, you will not be moving around with the radio, or it will be used in stationary conditions, then the weight will not be a problem, and you will be free to pick even the bulky ones.

User reviews

Finally, you must never forget to check out the reviews submitted by past powers. Since you have no experience in using the radios, the only way for you to know if you will have a great experience is to delve into the reviews submitted by past buyers so that you have an idea of the kind of experience that awaits you. It is highly recommended that you stick with the units that have very impressive reviews and don’t bother with those that have poor reviews.

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